When Eat Sleep Ride was founded, it was with a vision to support the local community through equine and nature based interaction and particularly, to improve the lives of young people by providing opportunities. To this end, we moved to our purpose built site in Lamberton in 2022. However, this was just the first step to fulfilling our true potential.
The country has taken a battering in recent years through covid, the cost of living, Brexit and everything else that has been going on. Our bills have gone up, the cost of caring for the horses has gone up, and the expendable income of our supporters has reduced. This isn't doom and gloom though! For us, this is a chance to make a long overdue change.
We want to use the energy and values that we have to create a real change in the community. We want to be a place where young people can be inspired and learn new skills, where families can come together and build stronger connections, where the horses are used not just for riding but to teach us valuable lessons about ourselves.
Wellbeing and skills building will be at our core and we will provide tailored support to both horses and humans. This could take the form of therapy sessions, being out in nature, community growing projects, building an understanding of horses, learning new things, meeting new people and endless other opportunities.
Last year alone, we managed to
- employ 3 new young employees
- have 71 active volunteers
- attend 27 training, and hosted 11, totalling 256 attendees
- celebrated our 5-year anniversary, our move to the new site, which took over 900 hours of volunteer time, with people aged 3-60+ involved
- supported 7 attendees on alternative education provision attend for 54 hours a week between them all, with 3 DYA's achieved this year, and 3 more in progress
- started our community allotment and pond, with planting of over 2000 trees
ESR also aims to be a carbon neutral site and promote aims of sustainability and awareness of the environment, through developing our reclaimed land.
Change doesn't happen overnight. Currently we are stuck in a pattern which stops us making steps for change, and our current lifestyle that we know doesn't work for us or the people we serve as best it could. If we don't expand and improve on what we offer, we have to keep relying on commercial income, which has been wavering due to the past few years.
As we are off grid, with not enough solar panels and private water, winter has been especially tough. The staff and volunteers are working flat out to ensure the health and welfare of the horses, the welfare of the community and to secure small pieces of short term funding to keep hay in the fields.
Without the finance and time to build and develop new spaces, offer more services and create new connections, we cannot offer the best of ourselves or support our vulnerable beneficiaries, and don't feel we are hitting our goals as effectively as we would like to.
Eat Sleep Ride CIC is a family. Our family encompasses staff, volunteers, young people, friends, horses, board members, local businesses and authorities, all of whom understand our true value and want to see us succeed.
We believe that by helping nature, horses and humans have their most basic needs understood and met, we can create a better community and a better future for our young people. We have the skills to do this, we have the energy to do this, and we have the flexibility to meet those needs - whatever form they take.